MALLOY V. LAMONT: A CIVIL AFFAIR—UNTIL IT WAS OVER

The much-anticipated debate between Democratic gubernatorial candidates Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont turned out to be a rather cordial affair—until the one-hour forum was over and they reverted back to their attacks on each other.

The two took questions from Dennis House of WFSB-TV (Channel 3) and John Dankosky of WNPR radio on topics ranging from the budget deficit, taxes, highway tolls, attention to the state’s cities, making the state business-friendly, education and Bradley airport.

One of the biggest contrasts came when the two were asked whether the state’s tax system should be more progressive. Malloy gave an unequivocal “yes” answer saying he would benchmark it with surrounding states. Lamont failed to answer the question—twice—and focused instead on how the property tax was a burden and how the early retirement incentive programs actually cost money. Lamont said “we have a lot to do” before raising any taxes.

Overall, Malloy should a better command of the issues, ready with facts and figures on how certain things, such as economic development and transportation improvement, have worked in Stamford, where he was mayor. Lamont seemed to rely on general themes and platitudes. Although at one point, we saw a glimmer of spontaneity with Lamont saying, “Dan, we just can’t afford all of your promises.”

In closing remarks, Malloy used the fact that he spoke last to bring up what he contends was Lamont’s downsizing of his cable business by 70%. Lamont had no way to respond.

After the debate, the two went right back to slamming each other. Malloy told the press that Lamont’s business was fair game. He said the state doesn’t need a CEO that will treat the state like a business venture. Lamont, who had sent out a curious statement just before the 1p.m. debate calling for civility, seemed wounded and a bit upset after the forum, but said he thought he got his message out. Lamont said Malloy’s Stamford actually lost jobs and that his management of the city hasn’t worked.

The debate, which aired at 3pm on Channel 3 this afternoon, will be rebroadcast on CPTV and WNPR later today.

A similar debate, this one featuring the Republican candidates for governor, will be hosted by WFSB-TV, CPTV and WNPR radio tomorrow.